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Dual-Core vs Quad-Core Processors

With the release of AMD’s Ryzen line, Intel’s dominance in the market has been threatened for the first time.

For many, it’s a no-brainer. Intel has had their grasp on the processor market for years now and their processors are some of the best out there. But with AMD’s cheap entry to laptop computing, Intel is looking less enticing at its current prices. Ryzen chips are usually cheaper and stronger than Intel chips too! So what about quad core?

It’s important not to get bogged down with aesthetics when thinking about upgrading your laptop or desktop. After all, an extra core doesn’t make much difference if you’re not using it for light general usage.

But there are still a number of reasons to go for a ‘quad core’ or ‘dual core’, including:

A higher Turbo Boost speed, which makes the processor perform better by increasing its overall clock speed. An increased number of CPU cores means you can multitask more with virtually no difference in performance. More CPU cores mean you can use your system to do more tasks simultaneously, such as playing 3D games and watching videos at once without any lag… but more on that later!

By the end of this article you’ll learn:

  • The key differences between dual core and quad core processors
  • How clock speed affects everything
  • Why more cores don’t always equate to better performance
  • You’ll get an idea of pricing
  • Upgrade options
  • The secret of multi-threaded software
  • And get answers to the most frequently asked questions about dual core & quad core processors.

An overview of Dual-Core and Quad-Core Processors

Whether it’s dual core, quad core or octo core; there will always be just the one processor.

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It was in 2005 when dual-core processors were originally released onto the PC and laptop market, creating a change in computing performance forever.

A dual-core processor is a CPU that has two “cores”. A core is the part of the CPU that does the work. The individual cores can do their own processing at the same time, which means they can do more in less time. Quad-core processors have four cores, giving them even more speed for your PC’s most demanding applications and tasks.

To put it simply, a quad-core processor is made up of four cores. This allows the CPU to do four times as much work simultaneously as it would with a dual-core processor. What’s more, it doesn’t require additional power meaning laptops are able to maintain their sleek appearance and long battery life.

A quad-core processor is one that contains four cores instead of two. The number of cores are typically in the range of 2 to 8. The four cores can be used for general computing operations or they can be used for parallel computing.

What are cores?

A core is capable of executing multiple instructions at the same time. These are often referred to as threads and they have become more important with the rise of multi-tasking operating systems and even mobile devices like smartphones that have been reduced to single core processors.

What is the Difference Between Dual-Core and Quad-Core Processors?

difference between dual core quad core

The dual-core processor can be seen as a system that is designed for low power requirements and high speed.

The quad-core processor, on the other hand, is designed to cater for heavy workloads with much higher speeds and power efficiency.

The benefit of having more than one CPU core is the ability to handle more tasks simultaneously.

This means that your computer will be able to have multiple programs open at once with no lag or slow down in performance for any of them and your machine can still multitask efficiently without experiencing slowdown from waiting on other running programs to finish tasks.

Do more cores equal faster speed, less lag, better performance?

Yes and No.

If the program you use has the ability to split tasks between cores then yes, otherwise there’s zero benefit.

As far as speed goes, a huge influencing factor is clock speed. Which brings us neatly onto the next section…

Clock Speeds

Generally, a higher clock speed = better performance. But the trade-off is heat. A higher clock speed means the processor draws more power from the battery and heats up quicker (potentially).

The clock speed is a measure of how many operations the core can perform in one second. This number is typically measured in gigahertz (GHz). As the clock speed gets faster, more operations are completed per second and therefore processing tasks are executed faster.

Clock speed can be understood as a measure of how much power the processor uses, and in turn, the heat it produces. A higher clock speed means that more power is being converted to heat.

The trade-off for this performance is that a higher clock speed also means that the CPU draws more power from your battery. If you are using your laptop on battery, then you need to be careful about how much you tax it with heavy tasks (the hotter it gets), otherwise the battery will run out sooner than before.

A quad-core processor may not be as powerful as a hexa-core processor in light use cases, but it will run cooler and consume less energy. On the other hand, if you want your laptop or PC to do heavy processing tasks that require high levels of computational power then you should consider upgrading to a hexa-core or octo-core processor.

Price of Dual Core & Quad Core Processors vs Performance

Laptops with quad-core processors are usually more expensive than those with dual-core processors because the addition of the fourth core offers no functional difference (the cores can’t be used for different workloads) but higher performance and greater power consumption.

A quad-core processor would need to be powerful enough to handle heavy computational tasks without slowdown. However, this is not the case. The first generation of quad-core processor had quite a number of flaws that made all the hype about them useless. If you have a dual core processor already and it is working fine, then there’s no need to upgrade

A Dual Core CPU will be more than enough if you use your computer mostly for office programs, Internet surfing, and other basic tasks. If you are a heavy multimedia user then you might want to consider upgrading to a Quad Core CPU, which will be worth the cost.

Should you upgrade to a quad-core processor or octo-core?

That depends on your needs. An octo-core processor is usually recommended for graphics and cpu intensive games and other high-end tasks, but a quad-core processor is enough for most people. Obviously the more cores the more you’ll have to spend, so keep that in mind.

Multi-Threaded Software Vs Single Thread Software

Multi-threaded software is when more than one thread of execution can take place within a single process. Single-threaded means that only one thread of execution can happen within a single process at any given moment in time.

In other words, you’re not going to see any huge performance gains with any dual-core or quad-core laptops if the software can only run one process at a time.

Futhermore, even if you have multi-threaded software which can send a process or task to each core to be worked on simultaneosly as the other cores, there may be no visible, discernible performance gain if the software isn’t doing anything, such as loading a new tab in a browser, once it’s loaded it’s just sitting there.

So What Are Dual Cores & Quad-Cores Good For?

If, after reading all of that it’s left you confused as to where the benefit lies, it’s in high computational power and gaming. We’re talking about video editing, music production, etc. The best games support multi-threaded architecture too and that’s where more cores = better performance and better experience will be had.


If you’re on a budget, better off sticking to the highest performing dual core laptop you can find, or lowest quad core option. Otherwise if you have a decent budget and want to future proof your laptop somewhat, go for the most number of cores you can afford to buy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to improve speed on Photoshop?

One way to improve performance on Photoshop is to use a higher clock speed and more processor cache. Increasing the speed of the computer and memory would help with the performance.

Is a quad core better than a dual core?

Generally, yes.
A quad-core processor can help you to do more tasks at the same time than a dual-core CPU. A quad-core CPU will also come with the money, but is it better? It all depends on what you spend your time doing and how much money you have to spend.

Is it better to have more cores or higher GHz?

Cores vs GHz
The two main metrics in computer performance are throughput and performance per watt. A high GHz count often equates to an overall higher performance but it is important to consider the number of cores as well. It can be beneficial to have more cores when productivity is what you’re looking for such as when rendering or transcoding video, running multiple applications concurrently, or handling large workloads on a single machine. It may not make sense for some workloads, however, such as gaming, streaming content, and general web browsing.

Is dual core good for Windows 10?

Dual core is good for windows 10, but it is not the best option. Windows 10 has been made to work on a single core so that the user does not have to worry about allocating resources. When considering a dual-core processor, you should also consider being able to afford a quad-core processor or higher.

Do I really need a quad core processor?

It doesn’t really matter whether or not you need a quad-core processor. What is important is that the processor will help you to do your work faster and at a higher quality. By purchasing the laptop with better specs, it will be able to get more done in less time.

What does a quad core processor do vs a dual core processor?

The benefits of a quad-core processor over a dual-core processor are that it has the ability to do more multitasking as well as having better graphic capabilities, and improved battery life.